Budget 2024 larger than APNU/AFC’s five combined budgets in five years – AG Nandlall
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Senior Counsel Anil Nandlall has highlighted that Guyana’s largest and most singular fiscal 2024 budget of $1.146 trillion is as large as the combined five budgets passed by the previous government from 2015 to 2018.
The attorney general also cited that the 2024 budget is being financed without a single dollar increase in any taxes and without the imposition of a single new tax.
The five budgets had, however, imposed an aggregate of over 200 new taxes and fees on the backs of Guyanese. He continued by highlighting that after the five budgets exceeded an aggregate of over $1.3 trillion.
This was emphasised by the attorney general during day five of the 2024 budget debate at the National Assembly, on Friday.
“It will be the largest singular injection of money in the economy in this country’s history. The trickle-down impact from top to bottom in one financial year will be phenomenal. And this is only government spending. Just imagine when you add inflows from foreign and local investments and the local private sector. The impact will be unprecedented,” stressed AG Nandlall.
This simple comparison, he added, demonstrates the distinction in the philosophy, philosophy and track record of the two governments.
Many transformative projects and programmes will be financed by this year’s budget.
These include the New Demerara Harbour Bridge, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Albion Sugar Estate, the construction of several housing schemes, the education cash grant, the gas-to-shore energy project, the construction and expansion of educational and health facilities, a part-time job programme, the construction of sports grounds, water treatment plants, thousands of community roads, subsidisation of fuel cost, new lands under cultivation of new crops, construction of major highways, GOAL scholarships, amongst others.
“That is what we are doing with $1.146 trillion. What did you do with $1.3 trillion in five years?… Durban Park, I checked it this morning, and right now accommodates 12 donkeys, 10 horses, and 13 vagrants. And you spent over $2 billion to build it. And $600 million cannot be accounted for… I can point to three pedestrian overpasses on the East Bank of Demerara… None of which are working…” the AG pointed out.
Minister Nandlall also underscored that several ministers under the previous government benefited from house lots and $50 million in scholarships.
The legal affairs minister also alluded to the Law Reform Commission Act that was passed in 2016. And in 2017, an office was rented at Robb Street, Bourda for $850 per month while an entire secretariat was hired.
He explained that the previous government chalked up $100 million in expenses and rent when they vacated office in 2020.
“And they never appointed a law reform commission…The law reform commission was appointed by us in 2021,” Minister Nandlall.
The budget debate, he noted, establishes and illustrates the great divide between a government and a misplaced opposition due to a difference in leadership, depth, vision, competence and track record.
In the education sector, the PPP/C government is building a modernised educational infrastructure to ensure that children are comfortably accommodated in classrooms to receive their education. This will also pave the way for Guyana’s attainment of universal secondary education by 2025.
With heavy emphasis on regional and global food security, Guyana is also establishing a regional food hub.
With the establishment of 12 hospitals, Guyana is building a world-class healthcare system.
As a result of prudent management of the oil and gas sector, international indicators have ruled that Guyana is the fastest-growing economy in the world.
Guyana is also modernising the entire judiciary and constructing courthouses throughout the country.